How do I register a trade mark?


Here are our six steps to obtaining a registered trade mark, such as in the UK.

Step 1

Pick a Mark.  That might be a name, logo, sound, movement, colour or other identifier of your goods, or services.

Step 2

Identify goods or services for which the mark applies.  You have to select the goods or services you are using the mark for, or intend to.  This may sound easy, but getting professional advice at this stage is advisable. The list of goods and/or services defines the scope of protection accorded to your registration. The broader the list of goods, the wider the protection afforded. However, you might be more likely to run up against a conflicting mark. A balance needs to be struck.

Step 3

Conduct clearance searches.  It’s important to ensure you’re free to use your chosen mark.

Step 4

File your trade mark application.

Step 5

Examination. Your application will be examined and, assuming no insurmountable objections, will be published for opposition purposes. This is so that anyone with a prior right or other complaint can file opposition.

Step 6

Registration. Your trade mark will become registered if no opposition is filed or if an opposition is unsuccessful.

In addition, you need to think about where you wish to register your trade mark. Is the EU of interest? Further afield? There are different registration strategies that could be employed, from national trade mark applications, regional applications (e.g. the EUTM) or International applications.

While this process looks relatively straightforward, it is a complex process with the risk of many potential pitfalls on the way.  Do seek professional help to lead you through the process and mitigate those risks.

Answer last updated: 17 Jan 2018